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9 Key Strategies to Cracking the YouTube Algorithm and Running a Successful Channel

Our YouTube channel has recently soared to 27k subscribers, becoming our most potent lead generation tool and the go-to place for all our hirings. In this post, we’ll explore the 9 key strategies that have led to our success, from posting daily and niching down to optimizing thumbnails and crafting compelling titles. Join us as we delve into these insights, offering a roadmap to YouTube success.

Perhaps one of the most potent tools in marketing today is a YouTube channel. Believe it or not, it’s even more influential than podcasts, with people spending more time on YouTube than any other website on the internet. 

Isn’t that astounding? But it makes perfect sense. 

YouTube is designed for long-form content, deep dives, retention, and subscriptions. People become truly engrossed in it, captivated by its visual and auditory appeal. However, it’s worth noting that managing a YouTube channel can be tedious.

1. Post consistently every day

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Want to achieve success on YouTube? The first tip might seem daunting, even repellent: You have to post every single day. Yes, every day! 

YouTube thrives on consistency, and you may find that initially, your efforts seem to go unnoticed. No views, likes, comments, or subscribes for the first 90 to 180 days, depending on your niche. 

But don’t be disheartened!

If you can persevere through this challenging period, YouTube begins to recognize your commitment. It starts prioritizing your videos, referring them organically to others, and slowly but surely, everything begins to climb. The key is consistency and patience.

When we embarked on our YouTube journey, we began with 300 subscribers, and now we’ve reached 27,000. While this might not seem like a staggering number in the grand YouTube universe, it’s significant for our niche in Google Ads.

Pro tip: batch recording

Here’s a strategy that can work for you: batch recording. Instead of recording daily, you can create five to ten weekly videos in one sitting. By organizing your content, perhaps based on your written material such as Twitter threads, you can efficiently power through your recordings. 

In just an hour or two, you can produce a whole week’s worth of videos. If you can dedicate that time, you too can have a thriving YouTube channel.

2. Find your niche

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The second key to success on YouTube is to find your niche. YouTube, powered by Google’s matching mechanism, connects searchers with content. The more specialized your niche, the more effective your channel will be. 

Consider the example of Aleric Heck, a brilliant entrepreneur who started a YouTube channel at the age of 12, teaching older individuals how to use their iPhones. This well-chosen niche led him to become a millionaire before turning 18. 

The lesson here is clear: Pick a niche that resonates with a specific audience. And don’t worry, choosing a niche doesn’t mean you’re locked into it forever. It’s a starting point that can guide your channel’s growth.

The ‘Hourglass of Niching’

Finding the right niche is like navigating an hourglass, a concept we created called ‘The Hourglass of Niching.’ You might start with a broader focus, such as personal finance, positioned at the top of the hourglass. 

As you create content on various topics such as budgeting, side hustles, or even crypto, you’ll notice what resonates with your audience. Perhaps your side hustle videos are gaining traction, leading you to narrow your focus. As you travel down the hourglass, you might find that you’re particularly appealing to stay-at-home moms in North America, focusing on side hustles tailored to them.

But be cautious; narrowing too much might limit your ability to grow and scale. Finding that perfect balance in your niche is a delicate art, one that can lead to a thriving YouTube channel that speaks directly to the needs and interests of your audience.

Finding success in a niche doesn’t mean you’re confined to it forever. 

We saw tremendous growth, reaching 22,000 subscribers, only to plateau as the audience’s interest waned. That’s when it’s time to adapt and expand. 

Branching out into broader business topics might not have been feasible initially, but with a solid subscriber base, it becomes possible to compete in a more expansive field. 

The ‘Hourglass of Niching’ encapsulates this dynamic journey. You begin with a slightly broader focus, then taper down to find maximum efficiency within a specific niche. 

Once you’ve maximized that efficiency and feel you’ve reached the limits of that audience, it’s time to broaden your scope again. This isn’t a hasty decision but a strategic move to continue growth. You recognize when you’ve extracted as much potential as possible from your current focus and then expand to reach new audiences. 

This hourglass approach allows for specialization and evolution, ensuring that your channel remains fresh and relevant and aligns with the real-world experience of growing and adapting a successful YouTube channel.

3. Embrace long-form content

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Ideally, you want to aim for videos that are 10 minutes or longer. 

This insight comes from the brilliant Evan Carmichael, a must-follow figure with a wealth of amazing interviews on his channel. YouTube’s preference for longer videos doesn’t mean you should force your content to fit this mould. 

While it’s good practice to aim for 10-minute ideas, it’s essential to let the idea take its natural course. Don’t stretch a 3-minute concept into 10 minutes or compress a 45-minute idea into a shorter span. The content should flow organically.

Being too strict or rigid can stifle creativity and enjoyment in the content creation process. The goal is to find a balance that allows for engaging, authentic content that resonates with your audience, without losing the essence of what makes your channel unique.

Consider thought leaders who seem to think and learn as they go, like Jordan Peterson. When you listen to them, you can almost see them discovering the topic during the discussion. 

This approach makes the audience feel like participants, actively engaging them in exploring ideas. It’s a powerful way to draw viewers into the conversation, making them feel present and involved.

Striving for long-form content doesn’t mean simply filling time; it’s about engaging with your audience in a meaningful way. Instead of presenting information like a newscaster, delve into the topics, share your thoughts, and explore the ideas behind the headlines. 

This approach not only aligns with YouTube’s preference for longer videos but also helps us reach that 10-minute mark organically. And remember, 10 minutes is just the starting point. Some of the highest-traffic videos can be much longer. 

Believe it or not, one of our highest-performing videos was an hour long! 

This shows that success doesn’t follow a strict formula; you must find what resonates with your audience and deliver content that is both informative and engaging.

4. Aim for a 70% retention rate

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Number four on our list of YouTube success strategies is aiming for a 70% retention rate at the 60-second mark, a challenging but valuable goal also inspired by Evan Carmichael. Achieving this retention rate is no easy feat; even we rarely hit this target. To illustrate, here’s a glimpse of our analytics from a single week we had in the past:

Monday: “Uncovering the Dark Side of Google’s Price Fixing” – 71% retention at the one-minute mark (Great!)

Tuesday: “Why You Should Embrace Imposter Syndrome” – 62%

Wednesday: “How We Lied Our Way to the Number One Spot on Amazon” – 59%

Thursday: “Why Scaling & Maintaining Efficiency Don’t Mix” – 59%

Friday: “Rest in Peace, Google Search: Generative AI is Here and It’s Awesome” – 61%

Out of five days, we hit the 70% retention mark only once. This illustrates that it’s a gold standard and a hard one to achieve. 

But why is it so crucial? It’s about avoiding clickbait. 

While titles should be compelling, they must not mislead the viewer into thinking the content is more interesting than it is. If they leave early, the video won’t get recommended, hindering its reach.

One strategy to achieve this retention rate is to front-load the video with amazing nuggets and sound bites. We tried this approach briefly, using quick snippets and teasers. 

However, we stopped it as it seemed to take the wind out of the sails for the remainder of the videos. The key is to find a balance that keeps viewers engaged without compromising the overall flow and integrity of the content.

It’s worth noting that the strategy of front-loading highlights might not suit everyone. In our case, since we often create shorter-form content rather than extensive three-hour interviews like some creators, bringing all the highlights forward seemed less effective. However, if you’re producing longer-form content, this approach could work well for you.

5. Call to action

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Don’t make your primary call to action (CTA) to encourage viewers to leave YouTube. 

While it’s common for creators to direct viewers to their websites, forms, or products, YouTube’s main goal is retention. 

They want people to stay in-app, and as creators, we should align with that goal by recommending other videos.

Instead of urging viewers to leave the platform, consider softer CTAs that still promote your services or products. For example, you might mention that help with Google Ads is available on your website, but make sure that your primary call to action encourages further engagement on YouTube. If you’re watching a video on cracking the YouTube algorithm, the next recommended video might be about content creation or running YouTube ads.

Remember, the primary goal should be to help YouTube maintain retention. By keeping viewers on the platform and guiding them to more of your content, you’re not only aligning with YouTube’s objectives but also creating a more cohesive and engaging viewer experience.

6. Thumbnails

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Number six on our list highlights the importance of thumbnails, a factor that might surprise some creators. It’s a common misconception to think that if the video content is good, the thumbnails shouldn’t matter. 

However, in reality, thumbnails often matter more than the video content itself. Painful as it may be to hear, investing in thumbnails is crucial.

In our experience, having a talented designer like our brilliant Jacqueline has been instrumental in our YouTube channel’s success. She crafts amazing thumbnail ideas that truly resonate with viewers. When it comes to the technical details, remember to place the text on the left to avoid being covered by the time code, position the image on the right, and use bold, easy-to-read text.

7. Clear and compelling video titles

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Number seven emphasizes the need for clear and compelling titles for your YouTube videos. Your title must accurately represent the content without overselling it. 

Striking this balance ensures that viewers’ expectations are met, helping to maintain retention and build trust. Remember, consistency and continuity with your offering are key to engaging your audience.

8. Video descriptions

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Utilize the video description effectively. Use this space to offer additional resources, time-coded notes, and deeper calls to action. If you’ve ever enjoyed a video, you’ve likely appreciated comments that provide time-coded notes, highlighting key moments. Make this a natural part of your video description; it’s a simple yet valuable addition.

The description also gives viewers the ability to engage further. Whether it’s liking, commenting, subscribing, or signing up for a newsletter, make it clear what you want them to do. As viewers get to know and trust you, they’ll be more inclined to take action, and the description is the perfect place to guide them.

9. Ask people to like and subscribe

graphic of female figure pointing to the CTA _Subscribe_ displayed on an Ipad

Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask for likes and subscribes directly in your video. While it might feel awkward, these actions indicate to YouTube that your content is resonating with viewers. A simple request for a like or a subscribe can make a significant difference in your channel’s success.

We want to take a moment to extend our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who supports our YouTube channel. Your engagement and encouragement truly mean the world to us, and we’re grateful for each and every one of you. From daily Google news to exciting collaborations with some of our favorite people, we strive to bring you content that informs, entertains, and inspires.

If you haven’t already, we invite you to subscribe to our YouTube channel and join us on this exciting journey!

Author

Ashleigh is a Content Writer at Solutions 8. When she isn’t writing, you can find her in the Alps sipping the finest wine, walking in the mountains, or admiring the crystal blue waters of the river flowing near her home. She’s an avid Pokemon card collector and a massive fan of anything that screams ’90s nostalgia.

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